BRADENTON, Fla. – The West Texas A&M women's track & field program are the 2017 Division II Outdoor Track & Field Champions with 64 points defeating Grand Valley State, Adams State and Pittsburg State over three days of competition at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The Lady Buffs finished the championships with four individual/relay national champions, 10 All-Americans and two school records. The 64 points are the most points scored by the winning team since Lincoln (Mo.) scored 64 back in 2014.
The Lady Buffs scored 32 points on the final day of competition highlighted by Rellie Kaputin and 4x100-meter relay winning national titles. Lacy Harris picked up a runner-up finish in the pole vault while Shanice Cameron earned All-American honors in the 100-meter dash.
"I'm so humbled and overwhelmed with what we have accomplished this season and especially this weekend," said WT head coach Darren Flowers. "Our girls stepped up in such a big way and truly believed that winning was possible. It is important to recognize our alums and what they have helped build over the years, because this championship doesn't happen without them. We have the best coaches, student-athletes and support staff. I'm so proud to be an alum and to be a part of such a great accomplishment for WT."
Harris got the final day of competition off to a great start as she broke her own school record in the pole vault en route to a second place finish. She was one of four athletes to clear 4.03 meters (13-2.25) but finished second due to misses as her only miss came at 3.73 meters (12-2.75). With that clearance, Harris becomes the first vaulter in school history to clear 4 meters and was just .02 meters off the Lone Star Conference record.
The women's 4x100-meter relay won the Lady Buffs first national title of Saturday with a record breaking performance. The quartet of Kennedy Hudson, Fatim Affessi, Jasmine Pitts and Shanice Cameron became the first relay in WT history to run sub-45 as they set a new school record running 44.85 for 10 crucial points for the Lady Buffs.
Cameron followed up her amazing anchor leg in the 4x100 with a fifth-place finish in the 100-meter dash running 11.73 out of the first lane. She finishes her career with five All-American honors and four of the five fastest times in school history.
Rellie Kaputin put the nail in the coffin on the Lady Buffs first national title in program history with a win in the triple jump as the senior brought her point total to 22 points for the championships. She won the competition on the final attempt with a school record jump of 13.28 meters (43-7) to defeat Diana Cauldwell of Lincoln (Mo.). Affessi and Malika Ouedraogo both jumped 13.05 meters (42-9.75) as they finished 10th and 11th respectively.
Last year they tied for 4th..this year they won it all! Congratulations to West Texas A&M Women's team on the National Championship! pic.twitter.com/Rse1ZuhSzz— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) May 28, 2017
Norma Cunigan finished her championships with a ninth-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 14.83 meters (48-8) on her first attempt. She played a crucial role in bringing home the national title back to Canyon as she won the discus on Friday.
The Buffs finished 28th with nine points as Todd Handley, Tobia Lahbia and the men's 4x400-meter relay all earned All-American honors. Lahbi earned All-American honors in the 400-meter hurdles for a second consecutive year with a sixth-place finish running 52.03 in the final. He becomes the first athlete in school history to earn All-American honors in the hurdles at consecutive championships.
Todd Handley earned All-American honors for the first time in his career with an eighth-place finish in the final of the 100m. The senior from Riverside, Calif. ran 10.66 in the final out of Lane Two. He becomes the first Buff to finish in the top eight in the 100m since Tommy Curry did it in 2012.
The men's 4x400-meter finished the meet on a high note with a fifth place finish running a seasonal best time of 3:10.87. Steven Cooper ran a strong first leg putting the Buffs in a good position before handing off to Lahbi on the second leg. Kylon Drones put the Buffs in a good position as Daniel Gyasi got the baton in third place before running a split of 46.5.
Paolo Lazaric finished 12th in the high jump with a clearance of 2.06 meters (6-9) competing at his first NCAA Championships.